California Mistakenly Tells 250K Their Provider Might Change
This month, nearly 250,000 low-income California residents enrolled in a program to receive health care ahead of an expansion of the state's Medi-Cal program were incorrectly told by the state that they might need to find a new provider next year, McClatchy/Kaiser Health News reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Details of Letter
State officials sent a letter providing such information to a total of 483,800 state residents participating in the Bridge to Reform program, including 246,023 individuals in 11 counties who were not supposed to receive it. The letters were sent out starting Nov. 1.
Recipients of the letters were informed that their current provider might not be available through certain Medi-Cal plans next year.
County and community health center officials said the letter has undermined efforts to reassure patients they can keep their doctors under the Affordable Care Act.
Sean South, an associate director at the California Primary Care Association, said, "The whole key to the success [of the Bridge to Reform program] is that people seamlessly transition to Medi-Cal. It is vitally important that we don't confuse them."
Eva Serrano -- a health advocate at QueensCare Health Centers, which treats Bridge to Reform participants -- said patients immediately started contacting the centers with questions when they received the letters.
Across the state, clinic staff members are meeting with participants to explain the mistake and reassure them that they can continue to see their current provider, according to McClatchy/Kaiser Health News.
Norman Williams, a spokesperson for the Department of Health Care Services, said the state is working to fix the confusion caused by the letter.
The state sent an updated letter to those affected, informing them that their provider will be included in the managed care network under the Medi-Cal expansion.
Williams said he still believes "it will be a smooth transition" for individuals moving from the Bridge to Reform program into Medi-Cal (Gorman, McClatchy/Kaiser Health News, 11/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.